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In the nick of time: Gaius Valerius Flaccus/ A coin sweet enough to start the Sertorian Wars, sort of


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A coin just in the nick of time. Just as I thought I'd never win a major acquisition again. Like a gambler in front of a busted slot machine, I keep pulling the lever and keep coming up short, as of late. 

And then here she comes. A coin that I've been looking out for and losing out on, for several years now. Landing right in my lap. 

Damn, life is good. 


C. Valerius Flaccus. 82 BC. AR Denarius (fineness: 950 ‰) (19mm, 3.61 g, 6h). Massalia mint. Winged and draped bust of Victory right with necklace and ear pendants; star to upper left / Legionary aquila between two signa, one marked H (Hastati), the other marked P (Principes). C. VAL. FLA/ IMPERAT/ EX. - SC/HP. (translation: “Caius Valérius Flaccus/ Imperator/ Ex Senatus Consulto/ Hastati - Principes”, (Caius Valérius Flaccus imperator/ With the agreement of the Senate, Hastati and Principes). Crawford 365/1a. Sydenham 747a; Valeria 12. Superb, ideally centered. Very beautiful bust of Victory, finely detailed. Pleasant reverse. Old Cabinet toning. Purchased from cgb.fr Jan 2024

Let's take a trip in my time machine:


A coin just in the nick of time... Sertorius; a former Roman of the populares faction, turned wicked grass roots rebel, bad ass, was on the run due to Sulla's proscription of him. A man NEVER beaten on the battlefield, whom firmly inplanted himself in Spain, fighting for his life, and planning on making his own Rome in Spain and then taking over from there. To this end and the use of gorilla warfare he was building up both some significant victories and more followers.


Money was needed to fund Sulla, yeah, this raving genius/lunatic:



L. Sulla and L. Manlius Torquatus

82 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.8 g). Military mint traveling with Sulla. Helmeted head of Roma right / Sulla driving triumphal quadriga right; above, crowning Victory flying left.

In 82 BCE C. Valerius Flaccus, proconsul and governor in Gaul, would sponsor THE Lex Valeria, making Sulla dictator. Before this he was already a successful general who had plenty of silver laying around to mint my new coin, a mere 2106 years ago, the output has been estimated at 540,000 denarii, to celebrate the end of his career. Minted after Sulla's victory. 

Sulla would also have Flaccus celebrate a Triumph during his time as dictator. No friend served him that he didn't repay. 


When Sertorius hurriedly took a role as propraetor in Spain, Flaccus, governor of Gaul, himself never made moves against the young upstart, possibly thinking him a sound successor to his governorship. In fact, Sertorius was also smart enough not to make waves and respected the authority of Flaccus. 

So, despite being dubbed a coin minted in preparation of the Sertorian Wars, there was no show down between the tried and true grizzled vet and the young, never to be defeated, genius. 


A decade later...Sertorius would be betrayed and assassinated by his own subordinate, Marcus Perperna. A man that Sertorius had granted sanctuary to and elevated. With some foreshadowing to Julius Caesar, after his assassination it was revealed that Sertorius had named Perperna his chief beneficiary! This is the kind of ignominy even a former Roman just can't wash off.


Perperna would swiftly and adroitly get beaten by Pompey. 


Side note: "The reverse type used on this coin was the first time the legionary eagle (aquila) and standards appeared as the main design element, and would influence a number of later issues, including those of Cn. Nerius and the famous legionary series of Mark Antony."


Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts, RR beauties, Flaccus coins, Sertorian Wars coins, all things Sullan, and or anything that brought you back from the brink. 

Edited by Ryro
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Fantastic thread. Glad you finally got the coin you were after for so long.

I have 1 coin related to the Sertorian War.

The Sertorian Wars 80 – 72 BCE
The Sertorian War (80-72 BC) was the last stand of the Marian faction after their defeat in Italy during Sulla’s second civil war, and saw Quintus Sertorius hold out in Spain for over a decade before finally being defeated by Pompey and Metellus Pius.
Sadly no good complete narrative of the war has survived. The longest accounts come from Plutarch’s lives of Sertorius and of Pompey.
Sertorius was one of the more able leaders on the Marian side during Sulla’s civil wars. He had served under Marius during the  Cimbric Wars where he made quite a name for himself, starting as one of the few Romans to escape from the disaster atArausio. During the wars the wandering tribes had invaded Spain, and large parts of the country probably slipped out of Roman control. Sertorius served in Spain in 97-93 BC, where he further enhanced his reputation fighting against the Celtiberians. He was elected as Quaestor in 90 BC, the lowest ranked of the Roman magistrates. He fought with bravery and skill during the Social War and in 88 BC was so popular in Rome that he was greeted with a standing ovation during his first visit to the theatre after returning from the field. He attempted to stand for election as tribune, but he was blocked by Sulla, possibly because of his connection to Marius or possibly because of his relatively low social standing.
Things didn’t get better for Sertorius, and towards the end of 83 BC he decided to leave Italy and take up his post as Governor of Nearer Spain, already allocated to him by the Marian establishment in Rome.
Sertorius began to build up his excellent army. He recruited Lusitanians, and later Celiberians, as well as the Roman colonists of the area. He treated his Iberian troops very well, and for many years was able to rely on their loyalty. He created a flexible army that was able to more than hold it’s own in conventional battles (allowing Sertorius to remain undefeated between 79 and 72 BC), and was also very able in guerrilla warfare.



The Sertorian Wars 80 – 72 BCE.jpg

Edited by expat
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Here are some connected coins.



OBVERSE Q. Pompeius Rufus (54 BC).

Silver Denarius, mint of Rome.

Obverse: Curule chair flanked by arrow and laurel branch; Q#POMPEI#Q#F / RVFVS above, COS on tablet below.

(Crawford 434/2; Sydenham 909).

Reverse: Curule chair flanked by lituus and wreath; SVLLA#COS above, Q#POMPEI#RVF on tablet below.  






L. Cornelius Sulla. Denarius mint moving with Sulla 84-83, AR 18.5mm., 3.77g. Diademed head of Venus r.; in Sydenham 761a. Crawford 359/2.
 r.; in r. field, Cupid standing l., holding palm branch; below, L·SVLLA. Rev. IMPER Jug and lituus between two trophies; below, ITERV. Babelon Cornelia 30.




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  • 2 months later...

WOW, REALLY like that capture, @Ryro!!!  Nice


Mine from that era ...


RR Annius Luscus Hispaniensis 82-81 BCE AR Den Fem scales caduceus Quadriga Q Sertorius S 289 Cr 366-1

SEAR states:  "This issue is connected with Annius' campaign against the renegade Sertorius in Spain and was produced by special decree of the Senate..."


And my Sulla:


RR Manlius Torquatus L. Corn Sulla 82 BCE AR den 17mm 3.7g Mil mint w Sulla. Roma - Sulla triumpl quadriga vict wreath Cr 367-3 Syd 759 S 286



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